My comment to the FCC regarding router firmware, etc

In response to the FCC's proposal to lock down any consumer device with a software controlled radio to prevent consumer level fiddling, I submitted this to the federal register.

If you want to do the same, HERE is the link.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this important proposal. I am a semi-knowledgeable consumer of residential networking equipment and a proponent of open hardware and software. I have, on many occasions, installed alternative, open source firmware in consumer level routers. I do this for two reasons, the first is for stability, the second is to access additional features that may not be available in factory firmware.

I have had equipment that was basically completely unusable with the factory firmware; one piece of equipment in particular wouldn't run for more than about an hour without crashing. I installed DD-WRT and it's been running for over 5 years with no trouble since then.

Also, there have been NUMEROUS cases in the past of serious vulnerabilities being discovered in manufacturer firmware. Manufacturers are not always willing to fix or even acknowledge these issues, especially on older equipment that may no longer be supported. In my opinion, it's imperative that consumers be allowed to use alternate software to defend the digital "castle" of their home network.

Consumer networking equipment manufacturers that I have had contact with are fully aware of the fact that people are installing aftermarket firmware on their equipment, and I have never talked to one that had any problem with this. More than one manufacturer actually makes models specifically designed and guaranteed to run open source firmware.

I have never used aftermarket firmware to cause the radios in the equipment to operate outside of legal parameters. I feel that this proposal threatens my ability to operate a stable and secure personal network; being forced to just live with whatever firmware the manufacturer cares to provide is unduly limiting.

Finally, the internet has, from the beginning and in an ongoing basis, been built on open standards, technologies and software. Open software provides the basis for everyone down to the level of the individual experimenter playing with a new idea in his home to potentially create the next big thing. Computers, networking and digital radio communications is extremely exciting now and I think we haven't seen anything yet, if we allow the universal human urge to explore and innovate to continue rather than stifling it or making it unduly expensive by imposing too many rules.